Red Bank settles lawsuits, decides fate of old school

Red Bank settles lawsuits, decides fate of old school

November 8th, 2012 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Red Bank commissioners settled several important concerns at a special called meeting Oct. 30, including two lawsuits against the city and the decision on what to do with the old Red Bank Middle School auditorium and gymnasium.

Commissioners aside from Mayor Monty Millard, who was absent, voted unanimously to move ahead with the demolition of the old Red Bank Middle School gym and auditorium. The poor condition of the buildings, presence of asbestos and cost of renovation and upkeep were all factors mentioned by commissioners as influential in their decision.

The meeting was called for commissioners to gather public opinion on the matter, and most citizens who attended supported the Commission's decision to tear the old school buildings down. Among them was former Red Bank mayor Joe Glasscock, who said he is attached to the old gym but feels keeping the old buildings would turn potential developers away.

"We all need to set aside our sentiments and do what's best for the future of Red Bank," he said.

Some citizens expressed concern about what kind of development will occur on the property, which is located in the center of the city and is its last large parcel of land yet to be developed.

"We're going to make sure it's done right," said Vice Mayor John Roberts. "We're not in a hurry to develop this property."

Commissioner Ken Welch said he would like to establish a committee that would include private citizens to help make decisions about the property's development.

"The more input we get and the more ideas, the better," he said.

He said the buildings will be torn down sometime this summer.

Commissioners voted 3-1 to settle two $1.5 million lawsuits filed against the city in 2010 by former members of the Police Department. Commissioner Ruth Jeno voted no.

"I don't believe in settling lawsuits, especially those that don't have merit," said Jeno.

City Attorney Arnold Stulce recommended the city settle the lawsuits, thus avoiding the additional expense of going to trial, the need to send officers to attend depositions and distracting the city manager from his regular duties.

Former officer Bradley Hanon, who sued the city for alleged harassment after he exposed several incidents of what he felt was improper police work, will be awarded a $36,000 settlement. The city will pay $26,500 of that amount.

Rebecca Chauncey, a former officer who claimed she was improperly placed on unpaid suspension for an alleged policy violation, was awarded $21,000, of which $16,500 will be drawn from city coffers.

In both cases the rest of the funds will be paid by the city's insurance through Tennessee Municipal League.